1 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No.

117246 August 21, 1995 BENIGNO MANUEL, LIBERATO MANUEL, LORENZO MANUEL, PLACIDA MANUEL, MADRONA MANUEL, ESPERANZA MANUEL, AGAPITA MANUEL, BASILISA MANUEL, EMILIA MANUEL and NUMERIANA MANUEL, petitioners, vs. HON. NICODEMO T. FERRER, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, Lingayen, Pangasinan, MODESTA BALTAZAR and ESTANISLAOA MANUEL, respondents. VITUG, J.: The property involved in this petition for review on certiorari is the inheritance left by an illegitimate child who died intestate without any surviving descendant or ascendant. Petitioners, the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz Guiling, initiated this suit. During his marriage with Beatriz, Antonio had an extra-marital affair with one Ursula Bautista. From this relationship, Juan Manuel was born. Several years passed before Antonio Manuel, his wife Beatriz, and his mistress Ursula finally crossed the bar on, respectively, 06 August 1960, 05 February 1981 and 04 November 1976. Juan Manuel, the illegitimate son of Antonio, married Esperanza Gamba. In consideration of the marriage, a donation propter nuptias over a parcel of land, with an area of 2,700 square meters, covered by Original Certificate of Title ("OCT") No. P-20594 was executed in favor of Juan Manuel by Laurenciana Manuel. Two other parcels of land, covered by OCT P-19902 and Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") No. 41134, were later bought by Juan and registered in his name. The couple were not blessed with a child of their own. Their desire to have one impelled the spouses to take private respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own "daughter". On 03 June 1980, Juan Manuel executed in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro (with a 10year period of redemption) over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land covered by TCT No. 41134. Juan Manuel died intestate on 21 February 1990. Two years later, or on 04 February 1992, Esperanza Gamba also passed away. On 05 March 1992, a month after the death of Esperanza, Modesta executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication claiming for herself the three parcels of land covered by OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134 (all still in the name of Juan Manuel). Following the registration of the document of adjudication with the Office of the Register of Deeds, the three titles (OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134) in the name of Juan Manuel were canceled and new titles, TCT No. 184223, TCT No. 184224 and TCT No. 184225, were issued in the name of Modesta Manuel-Baltazar. On 19 October 1992, Modesta executed in favor of her co-respondent Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim over the unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion of the land (now covered by TCT No. 184225) that was sold to the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro. These acts of Modesta apparently did not sit well with petitioners. In a complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, the petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid instruments. The case, there being no material dispute on the facts, was submitted to the court a quo for summary judgment. The trial court, in its now assailed 15th August 1994 decision, dismissed the complaint holding that petitioners, not being heirs ab intestato of their illegitimate brother Juan Manuel, were not the real parties-in-interest to institute the suit. Petitioners were also ordered to jointly and severally (solidarily) pay (a) respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar the sum of P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees and P500.00 for litigation expenses and (b) Estanislaoa Manuel the sum of P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages and P500.00 for attorney's fees. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court. The petition before us raises the following contentions: That — 1. THE LOWER COURT (HAS) FAILED TO CONSIDER THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 994 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE, AS THE CONTROLLING LAW APPLICABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE ADMITTED FACTS, AND NOT ARTICLE 992 OF THE SAME CODE.

AND VOIDING ALL DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY. it has ruled that where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate. the legitimate brothers and sisters as well as the children. 2 His thesis: What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters. Fabie 3 and. whether legitimate or illegitimate. (Emphasis supplied) Article 992. 6 that the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child. 5 In Diaz. 8 that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father. in turn. but must always be construed in relation to. 994. and the resources of which it is thereby deprived. the law does no more than recognize this truth. In default of the father or mother. any other part as to produce a harmonious whole. whether legitimate or illegitimate. the latter considers the privileged condition of the former.2 2. . nor shall such children or relative inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. as legal or intestate heirs of an illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art. however. nephews and nieces. although it does not totally disavow such succession in the direct line. she or he shall inherit one-half of the estate. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. 992 of the Code. in the relatively recent cases of Diaz v." The doctrine rejects succession ab intestato in the collateral line between legitimate relatives. and the latter the other half. MORALS AND PUBLIC POLICY. by avoiding further grounds of resentment. cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. IN NOT ANNULLING ALL THE ACTS OF. 12 In passing. in easy graphic presentation. the latter had no right to the former's inheritance. hated by the illegitimate child. nephews and nieces" as legal heirs of an illegitimate child. on testamentary dispositions. the legitimate family is. in turn. providing thusly: Art. 9 and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father. Intermediate Appellate Court 4 and De la Puerta v. the law on succession is animated by a uniform general intent. on other hand. sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin. when the law speaks of "brothers and sisters. an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving spouse. too. the former. then. it refers to illegitimate brothers and sisters as well as to the children. Consequently. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother. of such brothers and sisters. prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. 992. it has no application. TO ENFORCE ONE'S RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE VIOLATED IS NEVER A LEGAL WRONG. we have said: Article 992 of the New Civil Code . in the early case of Grey v. in turn. which reads: Art. If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters. WHO ARROGATED UNTO HERSELF THE RIGHTS OF AN HEIR TO THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN MANUEL. They may have a natural tie of blood. THE LOWER COURT. nephews and nieces. Thus. RESPONDENT MODESTA BALTAZAR. The rule in Article 992 has consistently been applied by the Court in several other cases. there is a barrier dividing members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family. has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain". Court of Appeals. This "barrier" between the members of the legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a noted civilist. a basic postulate. (Emphasis supplied) Respondents. but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992. collate the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978 through . . palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life. who shall be entitled to the entire estate. It is clear that by virtue of this barrier. firstly. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family. submit that Article 994 should be read in conjunction with Article 992 of the Civil Code. (HAS) VIRTUALLY GRANTED SAID RESPONDENT THE STATUS OF AN HEIR MANIFESTLY CONTRARY TO LAW. Since the rule is predicated on the presumed will of the decedent. (Emphasis supplied) The Court. on the one hand. 10 Indeed. and thus no part should be rendered inoperative 11 by. 7 that a natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent. 3. and illegitimate relatives. enunciates what is so commonly referred to in the rules on succession as the "principle of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family. 1 Petitioners argue that they are the legal heirs over one-half of Juan's intestate estate (while the other half would pertain to Juan's surviving spouse) under the provision of the last paragraph of Article 994 of the Civil Code. of such brothers and sisters. we might.

: Order of Preference (a) Legitimate Children and Descendants Order of Concurrence (a) Legitimate Children and Descendants.. No special pronouncement on costs. A ward (ampon). pp. that the complaint of petitioners seeking the nullity of the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication executed by Modesta. . 2 Desiderio Jurado. The Court. however. Feliciano. except insofar as it has awarded moral and exemplary damages. Illegitimate Children and Descendants. as well as attorney's fees and litigation expenses. the Illegitimate Parents) (d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse and Illegitimate Parents (e) Brothers and Sisters/ Nephews and Nieces (f) Other Collateral Relatives (within the fifth civil degree) (g) State (g) Alone (e) Brothers and Sisters/ Nephews and Nieces and Surviving Spouse (f) Alone (c) Illegitimate Children and Descendants and Surviving Spouse In her answer to the complaint. Modesta candidly admitted that she herself is not an intestate heir of Juan Manuel. 1991. is neither a compulsory nor a legal heir. Comments and Jurisprudence on Succession. viz. nevertheless. not being the real "parties-in-interest" 14 in the case. the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan (Branch 37) is AFFIRMED. without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption. She is right. 423-424. Footnotes 1 Rollo. of the Civil Code. concur. which portion is hereby DELETED. was properly dismissed by the trial court. 13 We must hold. Romero and Melo. 7-8.. 8th ed. 15 WHEREFORE. JJ.3 Article 1014. had neither the standing nor the cause of action to initiate the complaint. attorney's fees and litigation expenses. Petitioners. pp. SO ORDERED. inclusive. in favor of private respondents. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy is necessarily so wrongful as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. as well as the Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel. and Surviving Spouse (b) Legitimate Parents and Ascendants (b) Legitimate Parents and Ascendants Illegitimate Children and Descendants. and Surviving Spouse (c) Illegitimate Children and Descendants (in the absence of ICDs and LPAs. the three (3) TCT's issued to her favor. sees no sufficient reason to sustain the award of amounts for moral and exemplary damages.

Guerrero. 120 SCRA 890. No. Concepcion. Necessarily. 6 Corpus v. 12 Sotto v. 18 October 1988. 197 SCRA 223 [1991]). Allarde v. 10 Phil. 8 Llorente v. Araneta v. 38 Phil. 9 Anuran v. 141 SCRA 488. 13 SCRA 693. Tiu v. 88 Phil 125. (Salonga v. Court of Appeals. 15 Rubio v.. Ltd. 6 SCRA 1042. Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. Warner. Sotto. 688. 85 SCRA 567.R. 10 Leonardo v. Barnes & Co. 57 Phil. 43 Phil. 585. Tayo. 909.. Corpus. 4 150 SCRA 645. 69679. (First S) No. 13 Lim vs. 11 Javellana v. . Intermediate Appellate Court. Abaya.G.4 3 40 O. Udan. 29 SCRA 107). 29. a party-in-interest in a civil case is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment of the suit or the party entitled to avail of the suit. Court of Appeals. 709. p. 14 A real-party-in-interest plaintiff is one who has a legal right while a real-party-in-interest defendant is one who has a correlative obligations whose acts or omission violates the legal right of the former (Gan Hock v. 228 SCRA 51. 7 Cache v. G. 99 Phil. 5 181 SCRA 861. Aquino and Ortiz. 3. 196 citing 7 Manresa 110. Rodriguez. Lanzar v.

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